In this article, we will show you, step by step, how to make SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) bank transfers. If you want to read about SEPA, we invite you to check this article.
To make payments in SEPA, all you need is the IBAN number of the person or company you want to pay. Most of the time if you enter an IBAN, the system it will auto-populate the BIC.
An example of a B2B Pay IBAN:
Name: Sample Company GmBH
An IBAN which is a SEPA IBAN starts with any of these prefixes, indicating the country in which the account is based.
Euro Zone countries: FI, PT,BE, AT,ES,CY,EE,FI,FR,DE,GR,IE,IT,LV,LT,LU,PT,MT,MC,NL,MT,MC,NL,PT,SM,SK,SI,ES
There are also non-euro zone countries that participate in SEPA: BG,CZ,DK,GI,HU,IS,LI,NO,PL,RO,SE,CH,GB
An easy way to check if an IBAN you intend to use is SEPA enabled is to use the website IBAN.com. Enter the IBAN and click Validate IBAN (the website will also notify you if the bank account is invalid).
To make the payment:
There are over 1000 banks in Europe, which means that the experience will vary depending on the platform and the interface they provide. There are two main types you can come across.
1) Modern: Enter IBAN/customer name and pay.
Newer and modern banks like N26.com or Fidor make it very easy for users to make SEPA transfers. These SEPA payments will happen on the same screen. European banks do not differentiate between countries included in the system. The key principle of SEPA is that all payments with the zone are treated as equal.
In the picture below, you can see how this works. You need to click on transfers, then enter the recipient's name and IBAN number, together with the amount you want to transfer and (often optionally) a payment reference. Now you can hit the pay button. Please check if your bank does not require the additional authorization of such payments - without it, the transfer will not happen. In this case, the window will look the same no matter to which SEPA countries you make the transfer.
Example from N26.com
2) Complex old banking systems
Some of the more old fashioned banks use two screens, one for domestic payments, another for international payments, including SEPA. In this case, for transactions happening within the same country, customers use the Domestic transfer screen. But for SEPA transfers to another country (say, from Germany to Italy), they will be directed to the international screen.
Example of a Deutsche Bank customers:
If you are making SEPA transfers to a German customer then you need to select Domestic transfers. If the payment is to other SEPA countries like France or Great Britain, then you need to select International transfers.
Select if its a domestic or international payment:
a) For Domestic transfers
Enter the name/IBAN, the amount you want to transfer and reference before hitting send.
b) For international SEPA transfers.
First, you need to select the country to which the payment is sent and the currency.
Once you have done that, the system will automatically check if its a SEPA transfer or not. For example, if you select EURO and Great Britain, it will recognize it as a SEPA payment. If you select EURO and the United States as the country of the beneficiary, then it cannot be recognized as a SEPA payment and will be redirected to SWIFT payments.
If everything is correct, you will see the following screen, where you can enter the Customer name and IBAN, as well as the amount and the reference. You’re ready to hit send now.
Below, you can see an example of how a SWIFT transfer would look like. The main difference here is that you will be asked to fill in some additional information before being able to transfer the funds.